Events / ILST Seminar: Maya Dewhurst & Susanne Lang

ILST Seminar: Maya Dewhurst & Susanne Lang

September 8, 2023
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

3401 Walnut Street, Room 401B, 3401 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Maya Dewhurst, Lancaster University


Nasality in Greater Manchester: (Aero)acoustics and variation


Variation in voice quality is a socially meaningful phenomenon and plays an important role in acts of identity construction and group membership (Podesva and Callier, 2015). “Nasal voice”, or nasality, specifically, has been found to index a range of social characteristics (Bucholtz, 2010; Podesva et al., 2013), and vowel nasalisation has been found to be the focus of socially-motivated sound change (Tamminga and Zellou, 2015). Anecdotal evidence suggests that listeners hear a “nasal twang” in Mancunian speech, particularly that of working class males in (Greater) Manchester. The work presented here uses a nasometry device designed in the Lancaster University Phonetics Laboratory to separately measure nasal and oral amplitude in controlled speech, generating measures of proportional nasal amplitude, known as nasalance. In terms of variation at the macrosocial level, preliminary results suggest that social class and ethnicity could be conditioning nasality variation in Greater Manchester. Additionally, a validation test modelled from that presented in Carignan (2021) on a multidimensional acoustic approach to measuring vowel nasalisation is presented.


Susanne Lang, University of Mannheim


Verifying Causatives: A Corpus-based Study of the Middle English Derivational Suffix -fien


Modern English has more than 800 verbs that alternate between intransitive and causative use (McMillion, 2006). This characteristic of Modern English results from long-term diachronic changes and the transformation of the derivational system of English (Durkin, 2014; van Gelderen, 2018). The current study seeks to investigate the Middle English derivational suffix -fien, which is said to be a productive causativizing suffix in Modern English (Plag, 1999). However, its causativizing properties with regard to previous stages of English are almost unexplored (Dalton-Puffer, 1996). The suffix came into English as part of simplexes through the language contact with the Anglo-Normans (van Gelderen, 2018). A corpus-based analysis using the three Middle English corpora: The Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English 2, The Parsed Corpus of Middle English Poetry, and The Parsed Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English reveals that -fien derivatives can be categorized into three different classes regarding their semantic properties. In addition, it is shown that causativity is a matter of degree. Most investigated verbs have an underlying causative meaning but incorporate multiple senses that are either more prototypically causative or ‘abstract causative’. Lieber’s (2004) lexical-semantic framework is used to demonstrate that -fien is a causativizing suffix with a causative skeleton but without a lexical meaning. This study provides one piece to the puzzle of the unexplored ‘morphological history’ of English and the long-term effects of the language-contact situation with Anglo-Norman.